Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Home Made Pasta

Why would you bother, one might ask? Well, there's a couple of reasons:
1. I love pasta. I could eat it every night if it weren't for the fact that it is made of one major ingredient: processed white flour, and despite the spray on nutrients and 'enrichments' , I am unconvinced that a diet of white processed flour will lead to anything but.. dare I say.... misery. Now, we eat spelt pasta and even kamut pasta, and they're OK. But they're not really pasta. So, one solution is home made pasta. Sure, it's still processed white flour, but with the added nutritional value of eggs... lovely, free range eggs.
2. Now, with school holidays coming on quickly, home made pasta is also a great form of entertainment for two, possibly three children. Do not try any more than three! Of course, they will need to be supervised to stop little fingers getting squashed in pasta machine rollers... but generally, a great activity leading to a great meal.
3. It's not that hard or time consuming, and tastes heaps better.

So, if I haven't convinced you, I'm going to give you a very simple recipe (below) with some tips included. If you happen to have a red or other coloured Kitchen Aid, this recipe is even easier.

1 cup of flour for every person
1 egg for every person
Olive oil - 1 tablespoon per 2 people

Pasta machine (I prefer the Imperia brand)
Saucepans etc.

Method (without Kitchen Aid):
1. In a bowl or on a flat floured surface, mound flour and create a well in the centre.
2. Break in eggs and pour olive oil and 1 tablespoon of water.
3. Gather ingredients together to form a stiff dough. (You may need to add more water.)
4. Knead vigorously until the dough is smooth.
5. Cover with plastic film and place in refrigerator for at least a half hour.
(If you have a kitchen aid, place all ingredients together, and with dough hook, knead until smooth.)
6. Take dough out of refrigerator and knead for a few minutes.
7. Cut dough into pieces around the size of a large egg. Keep pieces you aren't using under plastic wrap to stop them drying out (particularly in Central Australia.)
8. Flatten the piece of dough with a rolling pin or with your hands. Flour well.
9. Roll through the widest setting on the past machine, then onto a middle setting. Dust with flour, fold in two and start again with the same piece of pastry. Continue to do this (kneading), until the pasta sheet is very smooth without any lumps or imperfections.

At this point you have a couple of options as follows:
Lasagne: you will need to cut the sheets up.
Cannelloni: roll up your filling like a crepe.
Papardelle: roll up the pasta sheet and cut through so you get ribbons of around 2.5cm wide.
Fettuccine: As above but cut thinner, or use a fettucine cutter on your pasta attachment.